We checked out the very new Ocho Kitchen and Cocktails last night for a few bites and cocktails and was excited to see a fresh take on Mexican cookery. The restaurant takes us back to time spent in New Mexico with the freshly roasted chiles, house-made tortilla chips and a grand assortment of fresh salsas.
We were also happy to see a familiar toque in the kitchen. You might recall our visit to the now shuttered Commissary where we spoke briefly with chef Ross Demers. Demers has worked in some sturdy kitchens including The Mansion where he worked as sous for John Tesar and more recently at Mi Piaci.
Demers said that the day the Commissary closed he was inundated with offers and within days he was shuttled off to Santa Fe to work with one of Ocho’s partners, Chef Eric DiStefano, who also owns the highly regarded Coyote Café.
Demers is roasting his own chiles with a set up similar to what you see at Central Market during Hatch season. In fact Demers is roasting cases of Hatch peppers during this season of bounty. With those chiles Demers is concocting a myriad of dishes infused with the peppers piquant flavors.
One particularly good use of the Hatch chile is in the pat of compound butter offered as a side for the duo of sauces and basket of freshly fried chips. The chips are largish, firm rounds that hold up nicely to a slathering of the butter and dunk into chile and tomatillo sauce.
Our visit was a late night jaunt so our small group enjoyed cocktails and bar bites at the upstairs bar. The second floor is more of a lounge setting similar to what you might find in a hotel lobby in Santa Fe. Scattered driftwood and warm colors illuminated the room that was rife with hints at the restaurant’s name.
The dishes we sampled were solid. The massive plate of fish tacos and the green chile beef tartare satisfied our need for late night sustenance, and they paired well with bar’s specialty cocktail list. A simple basket of those chips and a flight of interesting salsas would have sufficed, but the bar nibbles drew smiles.
The menu is intriguing enough to bring us back very soon to take a spin around the dinner menu. For now we will label Ocho as a very spicy spot. Ocho is open for lunch and dinner service each day.Ocho Kitchen and Cocktails 8411 Preston Road, Dallas